Trials & Litigation

Judge Clears 6 Verrill Dana Lawyers on All Ethics Charges re Ex-Partner's $300K Theft


Tried on ethics charges in an attorney disciplinary case because they allegedly didn’t act quickly enough to investigate a then-partner’s theft of some $300,000 from clients and the firm and notify Maine authorities in 2007, six Verrill Dana lawyers have been cleared.

The lawyers, who were targeted for discipline because they were in charge of the law firm’s operations, acted reasonably and in good faith based on what they then knew, said Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justice Donald Alexander in an opinion (PDF) yesterday, reports the Portland Press Herald.

“When the true extent of [John] Duncan’s misconduct was revealed, they promptly reported it and proceeded to make betrayed clients whole,” he wrote. “With the clarity of hindsight, the respondents were perhaps too trusting when they had good reason to trust, but they committed no violations of the Code of Professional Responsibility.”

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “At Issue in Ethics Trial: Did Verrill Dana Try to Cover Up in $300K Partner Theft Matter?”

ABAJournal.com: “Secretary: I Told Managing Partner He Was Out of His Mind As He Defended Thieving Colleague”

Updated at 9:10 a.m. to link to copy of opinion.

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